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Sep 13, 2008 01:01 PM

Love, Love, Love The Brickworks (but wish it wasn't so spendy)

I missed out on The Brickworks market last year but discovered it, and fell in love with it, this summer. It is such a fun - and delicious - place to start off the week-end. There is tons of great snack food - burritos with chorizo, eggs, potatoes and beans, breakfast crepes, grilled Monforte cheese sandwiches, roast potatoes with cheese and chives, JK frites, sweet potato cookies, etc. Last week, I saw Jamie Kennedy there, this week I chatted with Naomi Duguid (she and Jeffrey Alford were offering a casual cooking class). There's free water in containers and the wash station has a flat of plants underneath so as not to waste the dripping water. The place is filled with kids and dogs and there is just a really happy, fun energy. LOVE IT!

My only quibble is with the prices. I don't profess to be an expert in food economics but it just feels to me that if I'm buying local produce, in season, and directly from the makers (i.e. no retailer middleperson in between) - then how come everything feels so pricey? I understand that some of these artisans and farmers are smaller growers/makers and that their costs are higher than the "big guys" but I have to say, from the Cookstown Green herbs ($2-$3 for a wee little bunch) to the Fifth Town cheeses ($10-$12 for small pieces) and the breakfast crepes/burritos (around $8 each), everything is fabulous but spendy. It's not enough to deter me from shopping there as I really love the place and I enjoy buying fresh stuff from and chatting with the people who nurtured it (and would encourage others to do so) but it does make me wonder a bit. Anyway, 'nuff of that, The Brickworks rocks!

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  1. I agree. It's a great spot. And when you add it all up, in your words peppermint, fabulous, fresh, great food and happy, fun energy, in my mind it's money well spent. Yes perhaps a tad pricer but I don't mind in the least. I would rather spend the extra and know it's gonna be good, than go elsewhere, pay less and it's just mediocore at best.

    And tomorrow is the Brickworks Picnic, can't wait!!!!

    8 Replies
    1. re: millygirl

      Agreed. Like Polan said, "pay more, eat less". Maybe I should start taking his advice about the second part.

      1. re: millygirl

        Totally agree with everyone. I usually walk out of there spending way more than I intended, but I love getting breakfast from Chez Nous and I can easily spend $30 just at the bread vendor across from the Chez Nous stall.

        I'm *really* looking forward to the picnic tomorrow. Maybe I'll spot some fellow chowhounds there! I'll be the skinny Chinese woman stuffing food in her face at a furious pace. :)

        1. re: TorontoJo

          And I'll be the redheaded woman registering you!

          1. re: chloe103

            Boo-hoo - I'll be the teary woman at home in her living room, wishing she would have discovered her inner Brickworks self before they sold out of tix for the picnic (not sure if this sentence even makes sense but you get the gist). Please post about it - but try not to make it sound *too* amazing...

          2. re: TorontoJo

            Hey TorontoJo, it's Chez Vous. I only correct you in case someone decides to google Ezra or his catering company :)

            I'll keep an eye out for you tomorrow. I love to people watch and I can just picture myself scanning crowds for skinny chinese wondering if it's you. If you see someone looking at your strangely, it just might be me.

            1. re: millygirl

              Doh, thanks for the correction! Yes, Chez Vous!

              I'll keep an eye out for scanners. :)

            2. re: TorontoJo

              Hey TJ (my butter tart queen) - what things do you like from the vendor across from Chez Vous? Hubby had a cinnamon bun from there today - he barely saved me a bite. All her stuff looks great - what do you recommend?

              1. re: peppermint pate

                My favourite is the potato bread with sea salt. It's so moist and soft and makes amazing sandwiches (proscuitto cotto and mustard!). The cinnamon buns are pretty darn good, though it's best to ask for the ones that look especially gooey. The buttermilk bread is interesting, though not a favourite. The sourdough foccacia with tomatoes and onions on top is tasty, particularly when used for grilled cheese or paninis. Her quick breads are good, too. Yay for carbs!

          3. Totally agree, on both counts. Lots of love, lots of spending. The one difference I find with the Brickworks vs. other farmers' markets in the city (I typically go to Dufferin Grove, Riverdale, and Sorauren) is that there seems to be a higher ratio of prepared food to produce, which I think jacks up the overall price tag for the trip. But in general, I also tend to fall into the admit-it's-pricey-but-think-it's-worth-it camp.

            7 Replies
            1. re: chloe103

              Very true - the shopping is secondary to eating at Brickworks for me. We usually have our breakfast there, pick up a few bits of prepared foods and cheeses and then fill only about a bag or two with a sampling of produce. I've yet to make it to Dufferin Grove or Sorauren - how would you compare them?

              1. re: peppermint pate

                If you've been to the Riverdale market, Dufferin Grove is quite similar - it too is all organic, and has many of the same vendors. I'd say it's got the crunchiest/most granola vibe of all the markets I've been to (I don't mean that as a slam - crunchy is good in a market). Two or three bakers, the chocolate guys, a few butchers/game suppliers, the Greek olive/cheese/egg guy, Forbes Wild Food, Ewenity (sp?) dairy, Akiwenzie Fish, and lots of fresh veggie/fruit stands.

                The Sorauren market is sweet, but still very small - this is only it's first year. I go to that one mostly because I live a few blocks away, and I have this problem about being addicted to markets. :) Worth a drop-in if you're in the neighbourhood, but not yet big enough to warrant a trip in its own right.

                1. re: chloe103

                  I should also add that the Brickworks breakfast from Ezra and frites from Jamie Kenneday is a perfect way to start the day, at any cost.

                  1. re: millygirl

                    Ezra is Chez Vous, right? Yes, the grilled cheese and those potatoes are to die for. That's usually our first stop, though today I tried the breakfast burrito from the Mexican place and it was quite tasty and filling. I also like the prepared foods from the healthy caterer beside Chez Vous - Moroccan chick peas, quinoa salad with veggies, etc.

                    1. re: peppermint pate

                      Yes Ezra is from Chez Vous. He's going to be at the Picnic tomorrow as well.

                  2. re: chloe103

                    Crunchy granola works for me - I've got to try out Dufferin Grove when I have the chance. By the way, do any of you ever buy meat from the vendors at these markets? I'm sure it's probably quite fresh and tasty but I'm always a bit hesitant to dig through those freezers (plus I don't eat game meats).

                    1. re: peppermint pate

                      Small Southern Ontario meat farmers are pretty much forced to use freezing to add shelf life to their product. Without considering the energy required, freezing is a great method of storing meat. Don't be afraid to just dig in to those freezers, but be sure to ask the freezing date if it's not printed right on the package. One to two months is good when buying new stock. I have no problem using frozen meat up to 12 months after I buy it as long as I know that I controlled the storage environment after I got it home.

                      What do you consider game meats? Goat? Lamb? Deer? Elk? Bison? Rabbit? Boar? There's a world beyond beef. I've bought beef from Baretta and red deer from Deer Valley farm at the Dufferin Grove market and really enjoyed all the meals that I was able to make using these meats..

              2. anyone know how long the market runs?
                i figure that it ends some time in September.

                and yes, its pricey, but i guess you can get a burrito for half the price and likely half the quality. i usually end up spending my $$ on cheese and chocolate. the fries always have a line - if only i knew that it was JK's fries!

                3 Replies
                1. re: atomeyes

                  I believe last year it went through all of October.

                  1. re: atomeyes

                    "Running every Saturday until December 13 (8am to 1pm),..."

                    Now I have to check this place out. A farmers market por les riches. And to think up to now I've been happy with the ones in the local parks.

                    1. re: Pincus

                      i've been to the Dufferin Grove market, Riverdale Market and the Distillery Market. but my regular market is the Brickworks.

                      Brickworks has more prepared food and lots of plants for sale - that's the biggest difference. otherwise, many of the vendors are the same.

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